The high intensity at practices during a frantic and compressed training camp didn't keep a 38-year-old student of the game with 881 games under his belt from making an impression on the Bruins coaching and management staffs.
Jay Pandolfo, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, will be on the Bruins roster Saturday when they open the 48-game season against the New York Rangers. After some off-ice workouts Friday, Pandolfo received some high praise from Bruins coach Claude Julien, who also compared him to Reggie Dunlop, the Paul Newman character in "Slapshot" who served as player-coach for the Charlestown Chiefs.
“He’s in between an older player and coaching staff,” Julien quipped. “He’s got some experience and, yeah, he’s like Reggie Dunlop. I’ve been impressed with his camp and at his age, he’s skating well and kept up with the pace. He’s another guy who hasn’t played so to see him keep up with the pace, for a 38-year-old that means he’s in pretty good shape.
“You also see his experience and he scores a goal the other night. He’s not necessarily known as a goal scorer in this league but he can score goals. I’ve always seen him as an extremely smart player that reads the play well. I like him a lot and our management liked him a lot so we’re keeping him here for the time being. We’ll have to make a decision on him at some point, but right now he certainly deserves to be here.”
Pandolfo, a Winchester, Mass., native, is just happy to still be playing, not to mention for the team he grew up cheering for.
“It’s a dream come true for me to even be practicing with the Bruins right now,” Pandolfo said. “It’s the ultimate dream to play for them and if that happens it would be great.”
Pandolfo doesn’t plan on approaching anything differently once the season begins and will just take things day-by-day until he knows for sure if he’s made the team.
“I’m going to just keep doing what I’ve been doing and wait to see what happens,” Pandolfo said. “It feels great to be here and hopefully it lasts as a long-term thing, but its wait and see right now. I’m happy with the situation and we’ll go from there.”